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West Grove 14 80
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Jun 04, 2020
Major House Fire in Franklin Township
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By Secretary Bill Wohl
October 5, 2019

October 1 began with a major house fire in Franklin Township, with many area fire companies responding to assist the West Grove Fire Company early on a Tuesday morning. Area residents awoke to the sounds of sirens and news helicopters circling overhead.

Fire company pagers began sounding at 5:31am for a house fire with reports of a single family dwelling fire reported through the roof. The call location was Old School House Road, just off of Route 841.

WGFC Engine 1 responded quickly arriving to confirm the report of fire through the roof, immediately stretching a 300' rear pre-connected attack line to the second floor to fight the fire. The crew advanced the line into the house, and also began laddering the building to provide access and egress for crews working inside. A 2-1/2" attack line was also deployed to the rear of the structure. Engine 23-1 also arrived along with Tanker 22 to supply the first in engine and begin to establish water supply.

Ladder 22 arrived and leveraged the longer aerial on the new apparatus to reach the dwelling from the street. Following these initial units were were engines, ladders and multiple tankers from area fire companies across Chester County and nearby Lancaster County. Given the high volume of fire and overhaul, there was a need for significant manpower as crews worked to fight a fire running the length of the house across the second floor and attic levels. Standby crews initially sent to cover West Grove and Avondale were also moved into the scene to supplement initial crews.

Multiple water tankers were involved given that this home is located far from the nearest hydrant. The tankers shuttled the water from a hydrant at Wheatland Farms off Route 896 -- a 5.5 mile round trip. The tankers dumped their loads of water into portable tanks set up near the fire scene to provide water for the firefighting.

Complicating the operation was early morning traffic as vehicles passed by the fire scene along busy Route 841, and school buses from the Avon Grove School District had to be re-routed. Assisting the firefighters were fire police from West Grove and Avondale Fire Companies. During the operation, a 23 Fire Policeman was struck by a passing vehicle and was treated for minor injuries.

The house, which was vacant at the time of the fire, received significant damage in a fire that is being investigated by the PA State Police Fire Marshal and the Chester County Fire Marshal.

Additional coverage of this incident can be found here:

Operations at the fire scene lasted more than two hours.

Units: Engine 1, Rescue 22, Ladder 22, Tanker 22, Ambulance 22, Squad 22, Fire Police
Mutual Aid: Avondale, Union Fire Co of Oxford, Unionville, Kennett, Longwood, Cochranville, Keystone Valley, Gap, Quarryville and other fire company units. Chester County Fire Marshals, PA State Police Fire Marshals, Avondale Fire Police, PA State Police

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